TheatrEats: Hollywood Fringe Dining Guide
So you’re going to the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and maybe you’re making a day of it. Where do you eat? Here’s my handy dandy Hollywood Fringe Dining Guide! Because the Fringe is somewhat spread out, it’s possible that what is walkable from one venue may not be quite as close to another, but…
Walkable from Hollywood Fringe Central
Farmboy Kitchen is just south of Santa Monica on Vine, so it’s one of the closest spots to the bulk of the Hollywood Fringe action. They serve rotisserie chicken, salads, handmade sausages, sandwiches and an assortment of comfort foods with a farm-to-table vibe. You order at the counter, and then they bring your food to you. It’s a comfortable space and even has free wifi. In my visit there, I tried the kimchi fried chicken sandwich, and it was quite delicious.
Eat This Cafe is right next to the Hudson on Santa Monica, so it’s actually right next to a Hollywood Fringe venue and near a group of others. They’re a sandwich and salad place, and while I haven’t tried it, I’ve been inside, and the food certainly looked appetizing and made with care, and Yelpers seem to like it. While normally they close at 8 PM (and at 4 PM on Sundays) and thus wouldn’t be a place to go after an evening show, as per a commenter (below), they are open late for Fringe, with extended hours Thursday through Sunday.
Grub, on Seward a couple blocks south of Santa Monica, is run by a former Top Chef contestant. It’s another comfort food spot, with solid burgers, and it’s known for the After School Special, a grilled cheese accompanied by tomato soup. They also have all-day breakfast fare.
Tender Greens is a mini-chain that serves farm-to-table fare (salads, platters and sandwiches) with an upscale cafeteria vibe. This one is up by Sunset and Vine, so it’s a few blocks from the center of the Hollywood Fringe. I’m not usually a supporter of chains, but this is better than most; it’s a nice, reasonably priced place with a comfortable ambiance. This is a little longer walk than the others, but probably not more than 10-15 minutes.
A Short Drive
Bombay Grill is a great family-run Indian restaurant at Santa Monica and Highland. Their thali platters (basically, the Indian version of a combo) are good value if you’re hungry. You could walk this if you’re from the East Coast, already have a good parking space near Hollywood Fringe Central that you don’t want to lose and aren’t one of those people who drives when you have to go two blocks. Otherwise, they have a little parking lot, so ride away.
Petit Trois is Chef Ludo’s acclaimed French bistro, and it’s down at Melrose and Highland. Their boursin omelette is one of the best dishes in Los Angeles. This place is small and can get packed–and it’s a bit pricier than the options above–but the food is definitely major league.
Pizzeria Mozza is by that same Melrose and Highland intersection, and it’s been one of the hottest (and best) pizza places in town since it opened. That’s what happens when it’s owned by Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. The pizza isn’t your New York-style classic stuff, but it’s damn good. Of course, if you really want to drop a ton of money, the other two restaurants in the Mozza-plex, as it’s sometimes called, Osteria Mozza and Chi Spacca, will allow you to do that.
Mud Hen Tavern is a few doors north of Petit Trois, and while I haven’t been there in its current iteration, it used to be Street and is still owned by Susan Fenigar (of Border Grill fame). Think gastropub with a global vibe.
Otus Thai Kitchen and Coffee is my go-to neighborhood Thai. I’ve written about them extensively on the blog already. They’re at La Brea and Fountain, which still isn’t much more than a five-minute drive from the Fringe. They’ve got tasty Thai breakfasts, curries, noodles, some beautiful waffle/roti and berry desserts and more, all the while serving Intelligentsia coffee and with free wifi.
More Savory Possibilities
Luv2Eat is another Thai at Sunset and Cherokee (just east of Highland). Good, and they pride themselves on being very authentic, but the food can be super spicy. Get it mild unless you know what you’re getting into.
Roro’s is a Lebanese spot in the same mini-mall at Luv2Eat. It’s solid, though there’s not a ton of ambiance. Specializes in rotisserie chicken, but they have your typical Middle Eastern menu with shawerma, kababs and falafel. (They’re the featured photo for the blog!)
Javista is a small organic coffee shop on Sunset almost across from the two spots above. Super nice service, awesome owners and overall a great vibe. In addition to high-quality coffees and teas, they serve pastries, sandwiches and salads.
Doomie’s Home Cookin’ is a place I haven’t tried, but it’s vegan, and given that there are a number of plant-only folks in LA and it rates four stars on Yelp with hundreds of reviews, it seemed wise to include it as an option. (Of course, many of the restaurants listed above also have vegetarian/vegan options.)
There are also several Mexican and Central American options on Vine Street either north or south of Santa Monica, including Chavela, Cactus Taqueria #1 and La Numero Uno. I’ve not tried them, but they seem to have quite a few fans, and the latter two in particular are quite inexpensive.
While many of the places on the above list have great desserts, maybe after the show you need a sweet treat specialist (I often do!). This trio won’t disappoint.
Salt & Straw is one of LA’s best ice cream places (via Portland), and their first LA outpost is just a short drive away just south of Beverly Blvd on Larchmont. Some really interesting (but delicious) flavor combinations.
Mashti Malone’s is another amazing ice cream spot, just north of Sunset on La Brea. In addition to featuring delicious classics like Rocky Road, they are known for their Persian flavors.
If you want frozen yogurt, Frog is your spot. Nestled in a strip mall at Selma and Cahuenga (just north of Sunset), they’ve got good quality froyo, plus quality toppings, which is key in the self-serve yogurt wars.
While the Hollywood Fringe may be on a fairly benighted stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard, the good news is that you’re not going to starve. Whether it’s comfort food or more international fare or a sweet ending, you’re not more than a five-minute drive from a lot of good, reasonably priced options. So enjoy the Hollywood Fringe and enjoy your meals!